As I mentioned in this week’s author note from chapter 4 of For One Night Only, it’s not easy to choose only one song from Bessie Smith’s amazing collection of blues, full of heartbreak and perseverance. She was a fearless and independent woman who began recording music in 1923, pushing the limits and breaking barriers at every turn.
Despite the struggles that life threw at her, she was a survivor—similar to our Miss Swan in many ways. Recorded in 1923, enjoy “Down Hearted Blues,” from Bessie Smith, her first for Columbia Records, which pulled them out of a financial slump, written by two women, pianist, Lovie Austin, and blues singer, Alberta Hunter. 🎶